Capt vowe is in the Holodeck #msts2016

by Volker Weber

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Photo Franz Mattes

Hololens is everywhere at the Microsoft Technical Summit 2016 in Darmstadt. Partners showcase their ability to write software for the platform. And Microsoft offered me a 30 minute private session with a Hololens.

Hololens is not a peripheral tethered to a powerful PC, unlike the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Both of them are Virtual Reality Headsets that immerse you in a different world. Hololens is also not a a simple diving goggles style smartphone accessory like the Galaxy Gear or Google Daydream.

Hololens is a self contained computer, complete with motherboard, sensors, cameras. You wear all of that on your head where it sits on an adjustable ring that would barely fit my huge skull. The round glass you see is actually only a visor that wraps around the two screens in front of your eyes. You can see right through them and you are not isolated from the world around you. I was wearing my regular glasses right inside Hololens.

Hololens provides mixed reality instead of virtual reality. Part of what you see is the real world, and it is augmented by a 3D virtual world. Hololens scans the room around you before you begin and it lets you place new objects in this real world. You field of view is surprisingly small, so you need to turn your head a lot to get these objects inside the field of view. You control Hololens by glancing at objects, gestures that "click" them and your voice. There are small speakers above you ears but you can also wear normal earbuds if you need more isolation.

This Hololens gear is only a first model that took many years to develop. I am sure it will get lighter, more powerful, and more robust in the future. But I can see today that the potential is huge. It is hands-free, untethered computer that augments your real world with additional information. Heads-up displays are only a tiny fraction of what Hololens can provide.

You won't be running around on the street with this any time soon. But I can see many applications in the workplace. Just don't let anybody record you when you are wearing it. You look completely silly, when you wave your fingers in front of you to "click" objects. It goes way beyond "Hey Siri".

Comments

Oh my. It looks like the Borg have arrived.

So how was it? Did you get to try any cool demos?

Ian Bradbury, 2016-12-06

Lots of them. Everything I could fit into 30 minutes.

How was it? It's that weird moment where you are completely at awe and you know at the same time you don't need it.

Volker Weber, 2016-12-06

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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